Morocco is turning to new markets like Russia and China to support the country’s large tourism industry following a decline in visitors from traditional source markets, said Oxford Business Group (OBG).
Diversification will be key to meeting the goals of Morocco’s Vision 2020, the country’s tourism development plan, which ambitiously aims to attract 20m visitors and boost tourism revenues to Dh140bn (€12.8bn) by the end of the decade, said OBG in its latest analysis.
Last year revenues from tourism decreased 1.4% year-on-year (y-o-y) to Dh58.6bn (€5.4bn), with the country welcoming just over 10m visitors, indicating the magnitude of the task ahead, the same source added.
Russian tourists spent only Dh28m (€2.6m) in Morocco last year, but the Ministry of Tourism is increasingly looking to Russia as a priority market, said OBG’s experts.
In 2015 there were approximately 40,000 visitors from Russia, well behind the 3.3m from France, 2.1m from Spain and 615,000 from Germany, but the Moroccan National Tourism Office (Office National Marocain du Tourisme, ONMT), aims to increase that figure to 800,000 by 2020.
To support the Ministry’s effort, the country’s national carrier, Royal Air Maroc, which launched direct flights between Moscow and Casablanca in 2011, began service from the Russian capital to the southern resort town of Agadir in the second quarter of this year, said the OBG.
It added that the carrier is also in talks to establish direct flights from Russia’s second-largest city, St. Petersburg, to both Agadir and Marrakech.
Morocco has also embarked on aggressive marketing campaigns, the OBG noted, adding that earlier this year Moroccan tourism authorities hosted representatives of 30 Russian news outlets and 400 Russian travel agencies in Agadir, Marrakech and Casablanca to promote and increase the visibility of the kingdom’s tourist offerings.
Oxford Business Group is a global publishing, research and consultancy firm, which publishes economic intelligence on the markets of the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean. Every business intelligence article and report is based on in-country research by experienced analysts.